34 Elder Street
Overall score: ★★★★★
Hip, hip, hooray! I’m delighted to report that Edinburgh has recently welcomed yet another completely vegan café restaurant onto its vibrant foodie scene. Holy Cow, which opened a few months ago in December, has a menu that is fairtrade, organic and 100% vegan.
Vegan food available at Holy Cow
As the menu is based on seasonal ingredients, you can expect the food available to change throughout the year, however it will always be vegan and there will always be a couple of gluten free options available too.
Holy Cow is open daily from 10am to 6pm serving a range of salads, burgers, snacks and cake. Everything is homemade, organic and made freshly on the premises. The menu changes to reflect seasonality, but at the time of writing the menu consisted of:
Served on a homemade bun with hand-cut chunky fries.
- Portobello Mushroom with lettuce, tomato, mature vegan cheddar cheese, vegan mayo and onion
- Falafel with lettuce, garlic mayo, roasted peppers and spiralized carrots
- Thai Carrot with lettuce, peanuts, white beans and BBQ butternut squash, red cabbage and vegan mayo
- Pulled Jackfruit with lettuce, vegan mayo, tomato and red onion
- Smoked Tofu with lettuce, mango chutney, tomato, vegan mayo and red onion
All served on homemade buckwheat bread
- Vegan CBLT with lettuce, mature vegan cheddar cheese, tempeh bacon and tomato
- Cheesy Cheese with lettuce, mature vegan cheddar cheese, mushroom, tomato and red onion
- Hot Green Pea with lettuce, wasabi green pea hummus, cucumber, spring onion and sprouts
- Citrusy Beetroots with lettuce, beetroot hummus, spiralized carrots marinaded in orange juice and roasted seeds
- Savoury and Sweet with spinach, cucumber, Wensleydale-style cheese with cranberry, strawberries, red onion, roasted pecans, served with balsamic olive oil
- Super Green with kale, haricots verts, gluten-free penne, spring onion, cherry tomatoes served with homemade pesto and roasted pumpkin seeds
- Rainbow Spring Rolls with spinach, tofu soft cheese, beetroots, carrots, cucumber, red onion served with satay sauce
- Freshly Made Soup of the Day served with homemade buckwheat bread
- Freshly Baked Cakes check the counter for today’s selection
The burgers at Holy Cow have a legendary reputation among the vegan community in Edinburgh, and from the pictures above it’s easy to see why. Served with a generous helping of handcut chips, these burgers and big and delicious and you definitely will not need to to eat for the rest of the day. Try and save a little bit of room for cake though, as these sweet treats taste just as good as they look!
Holy Cow can also do special evening menus on request for celebrations and events. I went along with a few of my chums from the Tartan Carrot Meetup group to try their evening menu, and when I went along, these were the dishes that were on offer:
- Caramelised French onion soup (gluten-free)
- Vegan caviar on oats cakes served with herby soft cheese
- Polenta wedges with green pea hummus and red onion chutney (gluten-free)
- White wine and chanterelle mushroom risotto (gluten-free)
- Russian Dumplings (a traditional dish made with organic silken tofu, caramelised onion, potatoes and spices) served with caramelised onions, homemade yoghurt dressing and salad
- Portobello mushroom steak with mature cheese sauce served with lime and rosemary Royal Jersey potatoes (gluten-free)
- Chocolate and raspberry mousse (gluten-free)
- Salted caramel cheesecake (gluten-free)
Our group took a fair crack at the menu, so I was able to take lots and lots of shots of all the tasty food!
I had the caramelised onion soup, followed by the mushroom steaks and cheesecake. The soup was lovely, and accompanied by two slices of hearty bread. While it was delicious, I felt I had to leave around half of it to save space for my other courses!
And boy, I am so glad I did. The mushrooms steaks were absolutely incredible, and definitely my favourite course of the three. The dish was served with a lovely creamy “cheese” sauce and a good portion of potatoes, making for a hearty meal. One of my dining companions was kind enough to let me have a taste of their Russian dumplings, which were also delicious and very, very filling!
I finished off the evening with a portion of salted caramel cheesecake. It wasn’t as sweet as I would usually like, and by that point I was so stuffed with mushrooms and potatoes that I couldn’t finish the whole portion – even with the help of a yummy bitter chocolate sauce.
Overall, it was a lovely meal and I am excited to see where this place goes over the course of the next year or so. We were lucky to have a chat with the owner, who said that they are always trying to innovate and test new things, so don’t be surprised if their menu looks completely different a few months from now! Definitely worth a visit.
Menu info: ★★★★★
Value for money: ★★★★☆